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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre:  Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Publication: first published July 2010
Format: Paperback, 362 pages
Author:  Website, Facebook, Twitter
the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces -- wolf and human -- with love bearing its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

Linger takes place after Sam was ‘cured’ after that high fever he caught from meningitis. And this book, we were introduced to more characters, like Cole, a rock star who became a wolf to lose himself. Just like Shiver, Linger was written in the characters’ point of view. And in Linger, it was written in Grace, Sam, Cole and Isabel’s.

Linger, in my opinion was a little bit too draggy from the beginning to the middle of it. I guess one of the reasons was because we were introduced to Cole. I have to admit that I put aside the book for a few times because I was frustrated with the slow plot. I was waiting for something big to happen, but this big thing only happened towards the end of the book (the ending was the most interesting thing that happened in the book, but why did it have to end there?)

I was also frustrated with how Grace acted in the second book. I like Grace in Shiver. But I didn’t like her that much with what was happening between her, her parents and Sam. Linger is an okay read. It wasn’t really my preference. But I will still read ‘Forever’ because I'm curious of  what will happen to Grace and Sam next.


buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: The Green Ticket by Samantha March

The Green Ticket
by Samantha March

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Friendship
Publication: December 2012 by Marching Ink
Format: ebooks
Author:  Website, Facebook, Twitter, Chicklitplus
College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself ­­–– is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.

I can’t tell how surprised I am with The Green Ticket by Samantha March. It wasn’t what I expected. I was surprised that I really enjoy the book.

Alex, a college junior was thrilled when she got her dream job at ‘Blissful’ to manage a successful salon and spa. What she didn’t expect was that her dream job can turn into a nightmare. Sure, her boss, Dani can be really sweet.  But working under her husband, Kevin Dohlman, can be a nightmare! Alex had to deal with Kevin’s affairs and his attitude.

I love The Green Ticket. The character, Alex was sounded so real! I love watching Alex and her friends grew up throughout the story. Alex had her fears and doubt. I adore how the way Alex dealt with her problem and dilemma was realistic and believable. I was most surprised with what happened between Alex and her boss toward the end of the story. It was unexpected.

The Green Ticket wasn’t really a love story although there is a subtle touch of romance. The Green Ticket was more of a story of how a college girl survived her life balancing her life between her studies, works, friends, family and her love life. It mostly tackled the subject of ethics where Alex had to choose between her principle and money. Reading The Green Ticket was very absorbing. Once I picked it up, it was hard to put it down. I just had to know what was going to happen to Alex with her work and how her life will turn out. I can’t help but wanting to know what will Alex do in her situation. I would definitely recommend this book.

 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)
by Kristin Cashore

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publication: 2008
Format: Paperback, 471 pages
Author:  Website, Twitter
Deadly Grace

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight--she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graces as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away..

I was really excited to read Graceling by Kristin Cashore since it was recommended by a friend. She wanted me to read Bitterblue, but I think it would be better if I read the series from the beginning. 

As a Graceling, Katsa had a gift, a skill which able to kill a man with bare hands. Her life slowly changed when she met Po, a Graced fighter. She began to learn more of her Grace and her capabilities. Katsa, the heroine of Graceling was one of my favorite heroines of all time. She was strong, fierce, and independent and she got a bit of humor in her. I love the other characters as well, although at first, Po’s name reminded me of that Teletubbies.

Graceling have lots of slow parts. I think I started to really enjoy the book when Katsa and Po had an encounter with King Leck and led them to meet Bitterblue. But still, it was written beautifully. I love the romance between Katsa and Po. Although the ending makes me a little bit sad. It was beautiful, but sad.

Overall, Graceling was a book packed with romance, action and bits of humor. I would definitely recommend Graceling to anyone who loves strong, independent heroine. I cannot wait to read more of Graceling Realm—Fire and Bitterblue.



buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

#32 Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week:


There's only one problem.

If I touch him, he might die.
- page 166, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi




I'm reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi this week. I'm still not sure of the story. I'm still at the beginning and I'm still not used to the writing style. But I hear that this book is good.

What's your Teaser Tuesday?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Book Review: Click: An Online Love Story

Click
by Lisa Becker

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Friendship, Romance
Publication:  March 29th 2011
Format: Kindle Edition, 347 pages
Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical "B" celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.

Click: An Online Love Story was written in e-mail format all throughout the book. Renee Greene, the heroine was talked by her best friend, Mark to join an online dating site. This was where the fun started. We get to watch how Renee interactions with the guys she met online and how her best friend, Shelley, Ashley and Mark would react to it as Renee bcc and fwd some of her email to them. I didn’t like how the story was written at first. It can get a bit confusing with how the story was written (in email form). There were a few times when I have to rewind back because I keep forgetting who the email is for or who is it from (and the bcc and fwd). But after a while, I got used to the format.

Click: An Online Love Story was an easy read that you can probably finish in one day. I love to watch (or read) Renee’s adventure in looking for love. She sounded fun. I love reading her emails (and Shelley’s). And I enjoyed reading emails Renee got from the guys she met in the online dating site. It was mostly hilarious! I got excited to know who Renee will end up with.

Overall, Click: An Online Love Story was a quick, light read. But in my opinion, the book was lack of emotion and human interactions.

The Sequel to Click, Double Click is expected somewhere this spring

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: With This Ring, I Thee Dread

With This Ring, I Thee Dread (The Omaha Series)
by Ruth Ann Nordin

Genre: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Publication: January 2010
Format: ebook
Author:  Website
Ryan Jackson and Elizabeth Valentine can't stand each other. Unfortunately for them, their parents get along great and decide to play matchmaker in a very unusual way. In order to keep their jobs, they will have to get married and spend four months in a remote Alaskan cabin. They accept the terms but are determined that their parents' ruse will never work...until Ryan changes his mind.

With This Ring, I Thee Dread is a great comedy romance. Ryan Jackson, a successful advertising company was threatened to marry his nemesis, Elizabeth Valentine and spend four months honeymoon in a remote Alaskan cabin. Their parents believe that Ryan and Elizabeth would soon fall for each other by placing the two in a cabin alone.

I love the interaction between the characters, Ryan and Elizabeth. Most of them are cute and hilarious! I am glad that the characters’ relationship was not build on hot, steamy scene like I usually see in most books. But instead, I get to see lots of bickering between Ryan and Elizabeth (which is mostly funny) and see them to get to know each other through conversations. Through these conversations, the characters slowly changed as they begin to understand each other more.

Despite its not-so-attractive cover, With This Ring, I Thee Dread is a fun, light and cute read on arrange marriage. I really enjoy reading this a lot.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review & Guest Post: Next Year I'll Be Perfect by Laura Kilmartin


Laura Kilmartin is now on tour with CLP Blog Tour with her book, Next Year I'll Be Perfect. Please visit Rachel Schurig's tour page on CLP Blog Tours for more blog stop.

Next Year I'll Be Perfect
by Laura Kilmartin

Genre: Chick Lit
Publication: September 25th 2012
Format: Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Author:  Website, Facebook, Twitter
Sarah always thought her life was on track, that is until her 29th birthday party. The discovery of a list her younger self put together outlining what she wanted to achieve by the age of 30 turns Sarah’s world upside down. Suddenly her seemingly happy life and career look lackluster and Sarah sets off on a journey to transform her life. On her quest to achieve perfection one month at a time – a happy marriage, partnership in a law firm and being able to fit in a size six purple suede miniskirt – Sarah learns to challenge society’s ideals of achievement. Filled with harsh reality, humor, and romance, Next Year I’ll Be Perfect explores what true happiness and success is all about.

I received a copy of Next Year I'll Be Perfectby Laura Kilmartin from CLP Blog Tour as part of the blog tour.

Next Year I'll Be Perfect began with Sarah’s 29th birthday. Livvie, her friend gave her a list of goals on her birthday. It was a list of things Sarah wish to achieve before she turn 30 which she made on her 25th birthday resulting from too much drinks. Now Sarah had only one year before she turned 30 to accomplish her goals.

The book was written in Sarah's voice and I really like her voice and character. I love following Sarah's journey to achieve things she wrote on her list before she turned 30 and the transformation she goes throughout the story. It was realistic. Kinda like something that anyone of us could have experience. Next Year I'll Be Perfect was a light, easy read with a great flow and a touch of humor. It started out a bit slow in my opinion. But the more I read it, the more I wanted to learn about Sarah and whatever will happen to her. Definitely a page turner!
Guest Post by Laura Kilmartin
(On characterization and situation that both the author and the character, Sarah Bennett, shared. )

Write what you know.

Isn’t that the saying?

Well, when it comes to Sarah Bennett, the main character of my novel, Next Year I'll be Perfect, I know her pretty well because she and I share a lot of the same characteristics, likes and dislikes. Don’t get me wrong –much of her background and all of the situations she finds herself in are entirely fictional, but there is enough Laura in Sarah that even my own friends give me a second glance wondering what is real and what is not.

Let’s start first with the not. Unlike Sarah, I am incredibly blessed to report that my nuclear family of father, mother and sister are all alive, well, living within a 5 mile radius of me and fairly pleased not to find their counterparts in my book. Also, while Sarah and I are both attorneys, I don’t work in a law firm. I tried it, but found it wasn’t a good fit for me while Sarah wants nothing more than to hit the highest level of law firm success by being named partner.

Also, while I share Sarah’s good fortune at having a close-knit group of friends and family who support me in all of my crazy endeavors, each and every character in my novel is fictional and not based on anybody in my own life. So, where do the similarities between Sarah and I begin?

First, we both know what it’s like to live in Portland, Maine. I recently wrote my own blog article explaining why I set my novel in Portland, and in a nutshell it is the perfect location for both me and my fictional counterpart. It is not too big, not too small and has an abundance of culture, nature, history and really good food. Readers who live near Portland will immediately recognize Sarah’s favorite bar “The Grizzly Beer” as my own favorite, “The Great Lost Bear.”

As I mentioned above, Sarah and I are also both attorneys. While our careers took different paths, I still share a close bond with my law school friends just as Sarah shares one with her best friend Olivia. There is something about surviving the law school experience that forges friendships for life. Also, you can take the girl out of the law school, but… Even though I choose not to practice in a firm, I share Sarah’s love of dusty old law books and legal puzzles.

Another characteristic Sarah and I share is the fact we’re both single and still looking. While none of Sarah’s specific dating adventures happened to me, I have had enough of my own to be able to paint a fairly realistic picture of single life. I’ve been to a speed dating event; have ignored the awkward feeling when a male friend wants a relationship and I don’t; and I’ve felt my heart pitter-patter when the absolute wrong guy walks into the room.

Finally, Sarah and I share a love for TV, movies and all other sorts of pop culture. There were a few points in the novel where I found myself unable to describe a situation without referencing The Brady Bunch or Little House on the Prairie. After dithering for a little while, I decided to just go for it. After all, I think more people understand these reference than don’t: Nick at Nite is a common cultural lexicon.

So, while Sarah and I share a number of characteristics, I think her appeal is actually more universal. She is a woman who is trying to attain all of the traditional milestones of success, aided by the love of her friends and family and thwarted by her own issues with self-esteem and belief she can have it all if she only works a little harder. What woman can’t relate to that?


Author Bio

Next Year I’ll be Perfect is Laura Kilmartin’s first novel. She previously published four essays in Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays. All author royalties from that collection have been donated to breast cancer charities.

Laura is an attorney who lives and works in her native Southern Maine. A pop culture savant, she loves to read, write, travel and collect DVDs of cancelled TV shows in her spare time. Please visit Laura’s blog at http://laurakilmartin.com or follow her (@LauraCKilmartin) on Twitter.

Buy the book!
Amazon Paperback, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble

Friday, February 8, 2013

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop


Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop
Featuring Young Adult & Clean Adult Romance

February 8th to 14th 
Co-hosted by Rachael Anderson

Romance is in the air!! I'm so excited to join the Printed Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer co hosted by Rachael Anderson. I'm offering a chance to win a paperback version of 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker OR Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors. They are both funny, cute and light romance YA book.


  • To enter this giveaway, enter your contact details in the form below.
  • You are not required to follow me but, it would be nice if you follow me via GFC/goodreads/twitter too :)
  • This is an International giveaway as long as BookDepository.com ship them to your country.
  • One entry per person.
  • Winners will be notified via email.  Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. 
  • I'm not responsible for any lost package.


Be sure to check out the other giveaway stops on this blog hop:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review: Coffeehouse Angel

Coffeehouse Angel
by Suzanne Selfors

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Publication: first published July 2009
Format: ebook
Author:  Website, Facebook
Katrina works in her grandmother's coffee shop in a small town in Washington State, which isn't exactly the coolest job, given that it's an old-world Scandinavian coffee shop rather than the ultra hip Java Hut next door. One morning, when she gives a free cup of coffee and muffin to a homeless guy sleeping out behind the shop, this random act of kindness turns her life upside down. She soon learns that the homeless guy is actually a teenage guardian angel intent on returning the favor. Fame and fortune seem like the obvious requests, but after two botched wishes, Malcolm knows Katrina is hiding something from him. But how can she tell him the truth, when her heart's desire has become Malcolm himself?

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors was recommended by my little sister. She never enjoyed anything with romance but she enjoyed this one. Later, I found out that my cousin love this book. I thought I should give it a try. 

Coffeehouse Angel is narrated by Katrina. Katrina is a girl who worked in her grandma’s coffee shop. She woke up every day, early morning to open the coffee shop before school. She was taking out the garbage when she spotted a homeless guy at the back of the coffee shop. She left him a cup of coffee and some chocolate covered coffee bean. Later, Malcolm or the homeless guy came to her school to look for her and he insisted on giving her a reward for her good deed. Katrina thought of herself as ordinary – someone who doesn’t have any talent. When her grandmother fell sick, Katrina has to think of something or she will lose the coffee house. It wasn’t easy, especially dealing with an angel who refused to leave her alone and her friendship with her best friend, Vincent which started to crumble.

The characters in the book are very likeable, especially Malcolm, the angel who wore kilt. I like Katrina and Malcolm's interaction. They are mostly funny! I definitely enjoy reading this. I'm glad that my sister and cousin recommend this book to me. I enjoy the touch of romance, humor and the Katrina’s adventure in search of her talent much more. Coffeehouse Angel is a cute, romantic, heart-warming and clean read with an ending that makes you squeal for its cuteness!



buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

#31 Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week:


"There are only two reasons I can think of for why you don't come out at night: night blindness or werewolf?"
"And you decided to go with werewolf?"

- page 171,  The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Sarah Addison Allen




I'm reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen this week. It's a really cute read. The writing is absorbing. I didn't expect to like the book so much!

What's your teaser Tuesday?

Book Review & Excerpt: In Search of a Love Story by Rachel Schurig


Please visit Rachel Schurig's tour page on CLP Blog Tours for more information and grab your chance to win  a $20 Amazon gift card!

In Search of a Love Story (Love Story #1)
by Rachel Schurig

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Publication: May 4th 2012
Format: ebook, 281 pages
Author: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Mailing List
Emily Donovan doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body.

At least, that’s what her friends Ryan and Ashley keep telling her. They’re convinced her bad luck with men is directly related to her life-long lack of interest in all things romantic. When Emily’s latest relationship crashes and burns, she decides to go along with her friends’ plans for a romance research project. Sure, the idea that she’ll have better luck if she learns about the great romances of literature and film seems a little silly, but Emily figures it can’t hurt.

In no time at all, Emily finds herself buried under a mountain of romance novels, chick flicks, and sappy love songs, hopeful that her hard work will pay off with true love. When she meets Greg, Ashley and Ryan are convinced she’s found prince charming—after all, he’s rich, handsome, and totally into Emily. What more could she want? And why does it seem that her friend Elliot isn’t exactly happy for her?

Faced with misunderstandings, miscommunications, and a seemingly endless string of missteps, she is nevertheless determined to give true love a try. In doing so, Emily will eventually find that true romance, the kind that lasts, has little to do with stereotypes or clich├ęs, and everything to do with finding out what’s in her own heart.

I received a copy of In Search of a Love Story by Rachel Schurig for free from CLP Blog Tour as part of the blog tour.

Oh! Wow! In Search of a Love Story by Rachel Schurig is such a cute, light read. I enjoyed the story and the plot. Emily had broken up with his boyfriend, Dylan. Her best friend, Ryan and Ashley convinced her that she was not a romantic person and shoved her into a romance research project where she was required to read romance book and watch more chick flick. Then, she met Greg who seemed like a perfect man.  But her friend, Chris and Brooke wasn’t happy when she started to change after she dated Greg.

Emily is a likable character. She was this normal girl who was as confused about relationship and guys like the rest of us. I enjoyed reading about her adventure with romance and finding the love of her life. But her cluelessness drove me crazy sometimes. I love her friends! Ashley, Ryan, Chris, Elliot and Brooke made nice supporting characters. And not to mentioned Emily's patient from the clinic, like Frank, Mrs. Z. They made the story much more fun!

In Search of a Love Story had a nice, although a bit predictable plot. But I had a great time reading it. It was a cute, light read with a bit of humor. I love the ending and am looking forward for the sequel!


Book Excerpt

Chapter One

That’s it. I’m done with men.

I mean it. I am absolutely, completely, one hundred percent finished with the male species.

I’ve come close to swearing off men before. Like after my break-up with Jacob. I was nearly ready to throw in the towel then. Or after my disastrous experiment with speed dating (you don’t even want to know). But my optimistic side always won out in the end, and I would give dating another shot.

Not this time, though. This time I really am done. Finished. For good.

I explained my newfound determination to my roommate Ashley as I drove to work that first morning AD (After Dylan).

“You don’t mean it,” Ashley soothed, her voice crackling somewhat through my cell phone. “You’re upset. You just got dumped!”

I made a face at the phone.

“I did not get dumped,” I said. “I did the dumping.”

Ashley was quiet for a moment. “Oh,” she said. “I guess I just assumed…”

“Thanks, Ash,” I said. “You really know how to make me feel better.”

“Sorry, sorry,” she said hurriedly. “So what happened?”

I had a mental flash of the night before, sitting in Dylan’s kitchen, take-out from his favorite restaurant laid out on the table in front of me, an ill-advised surprise to celebrate our three-month anniversary. From the hallway outside the apartment, I had heard the muffled sound of voices and the rattle of keys, which surely signaled Dylan’s arrival. Then I froze. Along with Dylan’s deep, familiar voice, there was another sound. A high-pitched, giggling sound. A girl.

“There was someone else,” I said to Ashley, forgetting to signal before I switched lanes. The driver behind me laid on his horn, and I fought back the urge to flip him off. “Another girl,” I clarified to Ashley. “He showed up at his apartment with her last night.”

On the other end of the phone, Ashley gasped. “The bastard!”

I felt myself flush as the mortification washed over me again. The cheating wasn’t even the worst part. Much more humiliating was the look on his face when he saw me sitting there at his kitchen table in my stupid red dress. He didn’t even have the decency to look scared or guilty. Instead, I caught a clear flash of annoyance in his eyes. That’s all I was to him: an irritation standing in the way of his plans to get lucky with the wide- eyed bimbo behind him.

“I should have known,” I told Ashley. “I mean, it was clear he was a bastard long before last night.”

“Love blinds us,” she said sagely, and I rolled my eyes. Typical Ashley. “Em, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there when you got home,” she continued. “You should have called me! I would have come back immediately.”

The truth was, I felt a measure of relief when I got back to our apartment last night and found the note from Ashley letting me know that she’d be spending the night at her boyfriend Chris’ss place. Under her familiar handwriting, Chris had added a little note wishing me luck with my surprise dinner and seduction plans. The embarrassment had been too much, and I was grateful that I’d have an evening alone to nurse my pride (or at least drown it with wine) before I had to tell either of them about it.

“It’s okay,” I told her. “I wasn’t up for much company anyhow.”

“You poor thing,” she said. From the other end of the phone I heard the muffled sound of a bell ringing, signaling the start of Ashley’s day as a kindergarten teacher.

“You should go,” I told her. “I’m almost to work anyhow.”

“We’ll have dinner tonight, whatever you want,” she told me. “I’ll call Ryan on my lunch break and tell him to come over.”

Ryan was one of our closest friends, so I knew he would find out what had happened eventually, but I still groaned softly at the thought of her telling him all the details. “Em, he loves you,” she said, obviously having heard me. “He’d want to be there.”

“I know,” I said, resigned. “Thanks for calling him.”

She was quiet for a moment. “What about…um…Chris? Do you want…I mean, he would want to come too, I bet. But if you don’t want him to—”

“Of course,” I said, feeling slightly awkward. Chris had been our friend for years—actually he’d been my friend first, since we’d been lab partners back in eighth grade science. We had bonded over a joint refusal to dissect the frog Mrs. Carter had provided. But now that he and Ashley had finally figured out they were meant for each other and started dating, the boundaries of my friendship with him seemed a lot blurrier. “The more the merrier.”

“Okay,” she said, clearly relieved. “So we’ll see you at home around six?”

“Sure,” I said. “Thanks, Ash.”

“Listen,” she said hurriedly, and I could hear the sound of lots of little voices in the background. “Everything is gonna be fine, okay? You can call me any time, and I can have Jana cover my class if you need to talk—”

“I’m fine,” I assured her. “Get to work. I’ll see you tonight.”

I ended the call and threw my phone into my bag on the seat next to me. I was almost to work now, and the thought of trying to make it through a long day with the remnants of my wine-induced hangover did nothing to improve my mood. I said a silent prayer that my patients would be easy as I pulled into the parking lot of the small outpatient facility where I worked as a physical therapist.

Friday was usually my favorite day to work—most people didn’t want to spend the first evening of the weekend at therapy, so we closed at four. Since the schedule was usually light, there was only one therapist on duty. It was a nice change of pace from the usual crowded and noisy weekdays.

After gathering my things, I pulled down the visor and peered at myself in the mirror. My eyes looked a little on the puffy side, more from the wine than from any tears. I hadn’t cried much last night. Hopefully I could get away without anyone noticing anything was amiss.

“Hey!” Sarah called from the front desk the moment I walked into the reception area. “How’d it go last night?”

Damn, I thought. I had totally forgotten that I had told Sarah about my anniversary surprise.

“Good morning,” I said, plastering a smile on my face as I slipped behind the desk to hang up my coat. Maybe I could deflect her. “You’re here early!”

Fat chance. “I wanted to get in a few minutes on the bike,” Sarah said, waving her hand dismissively. “Who cares about that, how’d it go?”

I cursed myself for telling her about my plans. I should have known she’d act like this. Despite her predilection for overexcitement, particularly when it came to boys and dating, I like working with Sarah. She is a bit younger than I am, still in college, but she is good at her job as a physical therapist assistant, and the patients seem to love her. But this morning I could do without her eagerness.

“It didn’t go too great,” I told her, deciding vague was the best policy. “I’m not really feeling it with Dylan, actually.” Sarah stared at me with wide eyes. “But he’s so handsome and charming!”

I felt a little twinge, wondering just how charming he had been with her on the few occasions he had come to pick me up from work.

“Oh well,” I said, shrugging. “Plenty of fish in the sea.” She looked ready to argue the point, so I continued. “So what’s on the schedule today?”

Sarah looked down at the appointment book. “We’re pretty booked.” I sighed. Of course we were. “You’ve got most of the regular crowd this morning. Mr. Brandon and Mr. Cowdin are coming in on their lunch breaks. And you have three evals this afternoon.”

I stifled a groan. Evaluations were time consuming and tedious, requiring all of my attention and leaving no room for just going through the motions. This was exactly the kind of day I had been hoping to avoid.

“Well,” I said, moving around the desk to head to the tiny office at the back of the room. “I’m gonna review my charts. You may as well start getting everything prepped now. The weights and resistance bands are looking pretty disorganized; will you take care of that, please?”

“Sure thing,” Sarah said. “Let me just put the towels in the dryer…” I made it to the safety of the small office and collapsed in my desk chair. For once, I wished one of the other therapists was here. Then I could foist off some of my clients and go home. There was a beep from my cell phone, and I pulled it out of my bag, looking down at the new-message screen. Ryan.

Ash just txtd me, it read. Dylan is a prick and ur better off. I’m bringing vodka 2nite, C ya soon!

I sighed. It was only 8:15, and already the news of my humiliation was going viral. I stared at my phone for a minute, debating. There was one person in the world that I was actually eager to talk to that morning, but it was early, and if I knew her, my best friend would be rushing to get to work. I pictured Brooke, her hair probably wet, maybe thrown back in a ponytail, a coffee most definitely in her hand, probably searching for her shoes in her notoriously messy bedroom.

The image, as clear to me as if she were really there before me, brought a sharp little pain to my chest. The thought of talking to her was just too tempting. I picked up my phone and dialed.

“Hello?” she said a moment later, her voice every bit as harried as I had imagined.

“Brooke?” I said, embarrassed to feel my voice catch slightly on her name. “It’s me. Do you have a minute?”

“What’s wrong?” she asked immediately.

“I’m having a crap day,” I said, sighing heavily.

“Em, it’s like, eight a.m. How could your day be bad already?”

“I broke up with Dylan last night,” I said quickly, wanting to get this part over as soon as I could. “He was cheating on me.”

“Shit,” she said. The curse almost brought a smile to my face—it was so typical of my brassy, loud best friend. “Did you kick him in the balls? Do you want me to kick him in the balls?”

“Might be kind of difficult from two hundred miles away.”

“A four-hour drive to castrate the son of a bitch would be well worth it to me,” she muttered. “God, Em. Are you okay?”

I closed my eyes. “I’m freaking out a little,” I admitted. “I feel like I’m in a giant shame spiral right now.”

“Shame spiral?” Her voice was sharp. “What do you have to be ashamed about?”

I didn’t respond. How could I explain to Brooke what I had felt sitting there, watching Dylan and that girl walk through the door? I didn’t think Brooke had ever had a moment of self-doubt in her life.

“Emily,” she said, her tone softer now. “This had nothing to do with you.”

“Of course it did,” I whispered. “He didn’t want me. He didn’t even respect me.”

“Because he’s an asshole. Not because of anything you did or didn’t do.”

“It’s just hard to not feel terrible about myself right now.”

“Alright, let me ask you this,” Brooke said. “Who do you trust more—Dylan or me?”

“You,” I said immediately. “Obviously.”

“Well I chose you to be my best friend. No one made me. It was my decision, and I chose you because you are funny and smart and loyal and all that other crap.”

I snorted, and I could hear her laugh softly on the other end of the line. “I mean it, Em. I’ve known you since we were, what, six years old? His asshatness had nothing to do with you. I promise you that.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I know you have to get to work. I just needed a little pep-talk, I guess.”

“Work can wait. I have time.”

“No, it’s okay,” I told her. “I feel better already.”

“God, I really am a spectacular friend, aren’t I?” she said, and I laughed. “I mean that took like, what, five minutes for me to pull you back from the edge?”

“You are pretty amazing,” I said drily.

“You sure you’re okay?” Her tone was more serious. “I really can talk for a minute if you want.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I’m okay. I should get to work too.”

“Alright. Well, call me anytime. Really.”

“Okay,” I said. “Thanks, Brooke.”

“Bye, babe.”

“Bye.”

I ended the call, tossing my phone onto my desk. Talking to Brooke had helped, but I was still feeling like a hot shower and a shot of Jack Daniels would really do the trick.

“Emily?”

I looked up to see my friend Elliot standing in the open office door. He had two paper coffee cups in his hands, and I smiled. Elliot was the manager of VitaLife, the health store next to the clinic. He had become a pretty good friend over the last year—even though he was always bugging me to start taking supplements. He often came over to have lunch with me in the office, and we had gotten into the habit of trading coffee-fetching duty most mornings.

“You are a lifesaver,” I said, holding out my hand for the coffee. “I couldn’t remember if you were working today.”

“Bright and early,” he said, smiling back. Elliot was usually smiling—he was one of the most genuinely happy, friendly people I had ever met.

“You gonna be around for lunch?” I asked.

“Inventory day,” he said. “I’ll probably be tied up for most of the day.”

“Next week then,” I said.

“You could always join us for a hike tomorrow,” he said hopefully. In addition to trying to convince me to get on a vitamin regimen, Elliot also seemed to think that my life would be more satisfying if I joined his Adventurers Club for their weekly outings. You could tell Elliot was the outdoorsy type just by looking at him—his feet were almost constantly clad in hiking shoes, and he seemed like he’d be much more at home in faded jeans and Henley shirts than in his work uniform of khakis and Polos. His red wavy hair usually looked pretty messy, like he had just come in from a windy day. He even had a bit of a scruffy goatee thing going. Total mountain man.

“We’re heading down to Lake Erie,” he continued. “Supposed to be some pretty amazing bird-watching.”

I laughed. “You really know how to tempt a girl, Elliot. Bird-watching? It’s almost too exciting to imagine.”

He laughed too. “You don’t know what you’re missing,” he said.

“Maybe next time.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” he said. “Alright, I’m off.” He tapped the doorjamb twice, flashed another smile, and left.

I decided I’d spent enough time socializing. My first patient, Frank, would be here in fifteen minutes. I picked up his file and opened it, looking over the notes of his previous session. If I had to be here, I may as well get some work done. With any luck, it might keep my mind off things.

Author Bio

Rachel Schurig is the best selling author of the Three Girls series. She lives in the metro Detroit area with her dog, Lucy. She loves to watch reality TV and she reads as many books as she can get her hands on. In her spare time, Rachel decorates cakes.


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Friday, February 1, 2013

Printed Books Giveaway Hop


I'm so excited to join the Printed Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Ebooks are becoming more and more popular! But I love printed books more than ebooks. I just love the smell of paper and ink from a printed books.
  • To enter this giveaway, enter your contact details in the form below.
  • You are not required to follow me but, it would be nice if you follow me via GFC/goodreads/twitter too :)
  • You may fill in the form of book(s) you're interested in below.
  • This is an International giveaway. 
  • One entry per person.
  • Winners will be notified via email.  Winners will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. 
  • I'm not responsible for any lost package.

The winner is Jaime Lester! Congratulation! Thank you for everyone who participated in the giveaway.


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